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Breaking the chain of life in Bali

By Suresh Wijeyeratne - posted Thursday, 5 February 2015

Why am I affected by the impending death sentences for the Bali nine members Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan?

I struggle to see us as a human unit when witnessing the lack of humanity in passing death penalties.

Our instincts evolutionarily exist to prolong our lives. Death row creates an inimitable level of anxiety for those in its uncertain certainty. For they have the same sentient capacity that exists in you and I.


As I explored and found comfort in my being, I adopted the philosophy of not doing harm, of promoting life.

The following quote, often incorrectly attributed to Eintein, summarises my view on this issue:

There are only two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.

One could argue a third way to live, the way the majority live: to see miracles as possible whilst acknowledging their occurrence is uncommon. The quote emboldens the only way to live is to see life as full of wonder, to recognise the inherent beauty in life, to see that every part of our lives and this universe are miracles. That you are this being, in a physical body, whose genes have been gathering through eons, whose odds at being in this moment are so infinitesimally small that it is a supreme amazement to be alive. That our species have evolved through countless years and generations and through many adaptations to be who we are capable of being now. That you are reading these words, and processing them, that these concepts are firing synapses in your brain right now, that they may trigger an idea in response, that they are all a conglomeration of wonder and curiosity to whet our sentient and conscious beings with. That they are a pathway of seeing life and the universe as consisting of miracles.

What hurts me is that we are not seeing the miracles in our lives, in our society, and how we, as a global unit, can have a system of punishment that depletes the core of these miracles in Myuran Sukumaran and in Andrew Chan.

It is because All of life is a miracle that I abhor the taking of lives and replacing them with lifelong voids of hurt for those left behind.


Our consciousness does not feel in black and white. This grey area is where vibrancy lives. How can we presume to fit a black and white concept like the death penalty into the beautiful greyness of life?

Any act that takes away from life is stealing. It is ethically wrong. In The Kite Runner, author Khaled Hosseini articulates:

When you kill a man, you steal a life... When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth…there is no act more wretched than stealing.

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About the Author

Suresh Wijeyeratne is an engineer and lives in Melbourne. He is currently writing his first non-fiction book.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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